INTRINSIC

INTRINSIC ISBN: 9788494614941, Kwill Books, is first in a proposed fantasy/sci-fi series by Jerry Collins.

Plot: An introduction informs the reader that, “in a world where nothing is as it seems, a woman exists who has the power to possess the souls and wills of men to do with as she pleases” and that she, Jatara, “thirsts for world domination” only to be obstructed “by Derideon, an omnipotent ruler of the underworld, who wants Jatara to join his regime and (with him rule the world BUT must) praise him as her master.” The story then begins as the five-year-old Jatara is saved from a fire that destroys her home and her mother Shebella and father Econ in the middle of the night. Her savior is a mysterious hooded figure that removes her after setting the fire and drops her in the mud outside. The Town’s Elders arrive and find the child at the same time as a pair of her parent’s former associates, Egor and Zorka. Egor was a sorcery student of Econ’s but couldn’t qualify. Zorka was a somewhat ‘lose woman’ who, although married to Egor, slept with his brother Markel. All are involved with dastardly activities. They wish to take her to raise because she is the child of the most powerful Masters of Sorcery that ever have existed and, as such, will bring untold wealth when sold to the highest bidder when she reaches maturity. Jonas, the town’s Chief Elder and 350 year old former soldier of Econ’s will not permit this. However, the child with an unexpectedly mature knowledge, realizes that, although the pair want to use her and treat her as a servant, it is better if she acquiesces until she can learn from books of her father’s which survived the fire and is in a better position to take care of herself. It is imperative she learn her parents’ skills of sorcery, spell and potion making. She gradually acquires the necessary skills, wreaks bloody revenge on the individuals involved in killing her parents, rises to be the dominant ruler envisioned, but gets pregnant, cannot stop Deridreon’s invaders and supposedly is destroyed in an explosion. The underworld King then takes the baby named Kragon and raises him to be his all-powerful subject who is to aid in bringing him back from the underworld to which he has been banned, so as to rule the entire world. This volume ends when the reader discovers that the supposedly destroyed Jatara and reincarnated Jonas are about to return in a second book in the series to continue the war that has been waged now for millennia.

Discussion: The first part of the tale is a relatively straightforward fantasy replete with sorcery; a powerful secret language providing extensive powers to the knowledgeable user; casting of spells and making/deliverance of potions; bloody warfare involving all types of strange creatures; all action positioned in European/middle eastern countries (except for a mention of Australia) assumedly in the Dark Ages and before. (It is mentioned that finally in the year 1120 Kragon is fourteen and it is time to learn to be one of Derideon’s Demon Knights.)

The author then shifts the action to New York City where complete confusion sets in for this reviewer. The reader is told that Kragon last was there (NYC) in the 1910’s during the Industrial Revolution before WW I. Unless my memory fails me, the Industrial Revolution generally is believed to have begun in Great Britain and Europe around 1820, moving to the U.S. and, as an era, ending around 1870. Additionally now in modern America, the tale moves to add sci-fi and lengthy sections on examining various sociological aspects of life. Further, from about Location 64% in the e-book edition, it appears that another person actually has begun writing the book. The verbalization is strange – words are missing, misspelled, strangely or even misused and descriptions occasionally appear bordering on the un-understandable. They range from a simple statement: “The mayor offered him a drink as his custom was of greeting his affiliates in private articulations.” To others: “…I know you have busy schedule such touché, until I see you again take…”; “Kragon walked to the transport bay as the doors open releasing the herd of accompanied by officer who ushered them to the cage to be corralled unto the counselor was ready to begin his directive.” A blow was struck “sending his bottom molars crashing through his upper gum.”

Summary: The author began in a rather routine manner to provide the basis of an interesting tale and carried it well through two thirds of the book. Unfortunately, at least for this reader, something quite unusual happened then. The story line continued, but complete control of the presentation seemed to disappear. As this is the author’s first attempt, any number of factors may have participated in what happened and I’m sure will be rectified in future endeavors. However, it is imperative that in this progression, he makes sure to have a good and trustworthy editor, familiarize himself with elements of history he wants to use and that he learn something about physical altercations and gain a greater understanding of anatomical relationships and how they may be better described if they are going to be part of his future writings.

2* 3* for story and presentation of first two thirds.

Galadria

Galadria: Peter Huddleston & The Rites of Passage, Book 1, ISBN: 9780692227268, an e-book by Miguel Lopez De Leon.

Plot: Peter Huddleston is a young man growing up in a small town with a father and his second wife. He is a better than average high school student, liked by his classmates but prefers to spend time by himself and practicing with his boomerang. Everyone in town agrees that Peter is “peculiar”, probably as a result of his ‘loner’ preferences. He never feels that he really ‘belongs anywhere’, no doubt a sense arising in part from the fact that his father, after the untimely death of his beloved wife, spent little to no time with, and even seldom spoke to his son. At one time he had been a brilliant business man, but now spent most of his time in his favorite chair reading the news. He had remarried, however and his new wife, Gertrude, if not totally disliking the young lad, also practically ignored him. So, besides time alone, Peter enjoyed spending time with an older couple who owned the local candy shop and kept him supplied with their most delicious products. At the end of the school year Peter became involved in a series of unfortunate and misunderstood adventures resulting from a confrontation with the woman who owned the town’s furniture shop – a woman who was Gertrude’s best friend and insisted he call “Aunt Celeste”. As a result of Celeste’s overreaction and Gertrude’s siding with her, Peter was informed by his father that he must spend the summer with his dead mother’s sister, Aunt Gillian at the Willowbrook Manor. Peter is shocked because he never had been told that he even had an aunt – a fact never previously mentioned because his father actually knew little about Gillian and the two were not particularly friendly. With school’s end for the summer, Peter completed the three day drive with his father to arrive at Willowbrook Manor which sat in a mountain in otherwise rather barren terrain. Here he is met by the quite formal housekeeper and equally formal Montgomery, who will be his constant companion. He does not meet his Aunt until the next day when he discovers that she actually is the ruling monarch of the nearby country of Galadria. She offers him a choice and it is from this moment on that Peter, accepting the enormous offer, embarks upon totally life changing activity and the story advances at an accelerating pace to provide material that makes the reader look forward to the next episode in the trilogy.

Discussion: The author, among other interesting activities, is an accomplished, award-winning short story writer who has extended to full scale novels. This is the first of his writings that this reviewer has read and admittedly is impressive. He has provided a young adult fantasy that reaches and maintains a level of action that deserves the additional term of thriller and with action that is credible (if this term can be applied to a fantasy) enough to be most acceptable to the sophistication of todays’ generation and incidentally even acceptable to more mature ‘young-at-heart’ readers.

5* Fantasy thriller for young readers and for the ‘young-at-heart’.